Happier Parisians


Spring has definitely arrived here. Not only is it brighter every evening til almost 7.30pm but you can almost detect slightly happier Parisians on the metro (or rather less “suicidal’). Even more telling, I’m getting more emails from friends giving me their dates of arrival. With all the chocolate I’ll be eating, I’m lining up only all cultural events as I’ll be in the gym every morning working out (right). So here’s what’s on my agenda for April.

Got the Banlieues Blues?

Not since the opening of the Stade de France has an event tempted Parisians and tourists alike to the banlieues, the suburbs north of Paris. This festival, now in its 25th year, runs from March 12 through April 16, and is not your typical blues or jazz festival. Banlieues Bleues celebrates the old and the new in a celebration of music in Paris’ Seine St Denis suburb. Every year the festival attracts big names to venues throughout the area. This year there’s more than 20 different venues for the concerts with seating from 300 to 1,000 seats in 15 different towns of Seine Saint-Denis. For all the listing of events, check out the website, http://www.banlieuesbleues.org, or call +33 (0) 1 49 22 10 10.

We all scream for ‘The Scream’

For a new look at the work of Edvard Munch (1863-1944), this exhibition goes back to the artist’s career and some sixty paintings and forty graphic works produced between 1880 and 1890.

Among them, you’ll see the original of one of the artist and graphic designer’s most famous paintings: “The Scream”, which symbolises modern man swept along in a crisis of existential angst.
Taken primaily from private collections, the exhibition emphasizes the expressive style that Munch developed, notably incorporating photographs and silent films into his work. It started in February and runs til18 July 2010 
Pinacothèque de Paris, 28 place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris (Métro: Madeleine: Lines 8, 14) Tickets price range from 10 to 11.50€.

Women rule at Centre Pompidou

For the first time ever, the Centre Georges Pompidou is running an extensive review of women artists. This exhibit is a must-see! Lucky me, it’s a 10 minute walk my apartment, so I’ll be revisiting a few times! Prominent 20th-century artists including Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Tanning, Joan Mitchell and Maria-Elena Vieira da Silva are shown alongside contemporary artists like Sophie Calle, Annette Messager and Louise Bourgeois. 
With the pieces hung in chronological order, this exhibit brings together over 500 works by more than 200 artists, from the beginning of the 20th century to today. It runs until February 21, 2011, Centre Georges Pompidou, tickets 12€ (Métro: Rambuteau: Line 1).

Chocoholics month

Since it is Easter, it would be cruel not to tell you about the best chocolate/chocolate shop in Paris. And while I’m at it, let me also admit that it was my sweet-toothed mother in Dublin who begged me to find her the bars of 85% chocolat noir (dark chocolate) she has to eat to put on a bit of weight! It’s called Michel Cluizel and since 1948, Monsieur Cluizel is one of the rare chocolate manufacturers to process cocoa beans. Producing exceptional chocolates in his Normandy workshops employing 200 people, he has more than 6000 professionals in pastry, catering and candy making use or reselling his chocolates all around the world. You can also find his chocolate in Charles De Galle airport, but the selection is very limited. And if you do happen to become a cocoa bean addict and run out of your ‘bought in Pairs’ supply, there’s a new store in NY on 584 5th Avenue and 48th Street, near Rockefeller Center.

Boutique Michel Cluizel, 201 rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris (Métro: Tuilleries, Line) http://michelcluizel.com/

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